Ahh, the joys of summer

June 27, 2009

Fried okra. Fresh corn. Fresh tomatos. Purple hulled peas. Fried green tomatos. Fresh fruit, baked up into a clafouti.

It’s Saturday in a Southern town where they have a farmer’s market. And it’s a Fine Thing.

The photo could be better, but the subject matter defies words.

The photo could be better, but the subject matter defies words.

So those things are on the menu tonight. Along with Petit Jean ham steaks, because those piggies are Arkansas piggies and we are being locavores tonight. The clafouti, with Arkansas peaches, plus blackberries, blueberries and raspberries (the blueberries are local; the blackberries and raspberries aren’t), is baked and resting. There’s creme fraiche to be made. The corn is simmering. The purple hulled peas are done. The okra is cut and sitting in a bowl oozing, waiting to get its cornmeal dusting and hit the hot grease; ditto the tomatos, except they aren’t cut yet but that won’t take long. The tomato relish is simmering on the stove.  I’ve also got cucumbers cut up in vinegar and sugar, in the fridge. God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world. And all that stuff.

I spent a little more than my usual Jackson at the farmer’s market this morning, but they had shelled purplehulls, thank you very much, and they had okra and fresh corn for the first time this year. How fresh was the corn? I popped a kernel with a thumbnail and the juice squirted up and hit me in the face. That fresh. I bought six ears, and I didn’t care that it was 50 cents an ear. It’d’a been worth it if it had been a dollar. That corn had been off the stalk no more than 12 hours, I do believe.

Here would be the finished product:

I DO love summer. This is a big reason why.

I DO love summer. This is a big reason why.

Oh, yeah. Sweet baby Jesus, y’all. I have, as my grandmama used to contend, “near ’bout foundered myself.” But it hurts so GOOD.

I re-simmered the tomato relish, seen above on the peas; added another tomato, another shot of honey, a dash of cider vinegar.  Simmered it a lot longer. It’s closer to the real thing. I may have to continue to tinker, but it’s pretty damn good as it stands.

Temporary son is in no danger of becoming a full-fledged Southerner. He tried okra and fried green tomatos and purple-hulled peas all for the first time tonight, and didn’t care for any of them. Don’t guess he’s ready to move to Arkansas full-time yet.

Child C, however, was in seventh heaven. Now, THAT is an Arkansas child. Wish Child A had been here, although she would probably have made me cook greens. Only one of my kids that’s a greens-eater, and she does love them.

Oh, and we have dessert awaiting. It’s a concoction I’ve dubbed “Peachberry Clafouti.” It has, as mentioned earlier, peaches and berries surrounded by clafouti. Yum….

Are y'all just REAL envious yet?

Are y'all just REAL envious yet?

And with that, my friends, I’ll bid you an early good night, because I’ve got to clean up this disaster of a kitchen, put leftovers away (lunch for next week!) and I’m going to bed early because I have new books from the library. Tomorrow’s plans include banana bread, bran muffins, homemade biscuits to take care of the leftover ham, and the like before we tear into the ribs and trimmings. My contribution to this extravaganza will be baked beans, roasted potatos, zucchini crisps and whatever else strikes my fancy.

If you and y’mama ‘n ’em were to come see me at the lake, I’d feed you like this, too.


One Response to “Ahh, the joys of summer”

  1. Len Cleavelin Says:

    Okra oozes? I don’t remember that, and it’d probably have changed my mind about trying it if I had known.

    It has to ooze. That’s what makes the cornmeal stick to it.

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